Event, Holidays, Restaurants, Weekend
Jan 31, 2014

Field Trip-Lunar New Year in Flushing

Although there is no place like home, it looked like Dorothy had some fun adventures in Oz. In our new series, Field Trip, the We Heart Astoria team will discover (…)

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Although there is no place like home, it looked like Dorothy had some fun adventures in Oz. In our new series, Field Trip, the We Heart Astoria team will discover the world outside Astoria. Today’s destination, Flushing, just in time to get your cultural experience on for the Lunar New Year.

Field Trip_Lunar New Year_Parade PictureGetting to this Field Trip destination is easy. You can take a Queens bound 7 train all the way down to the very last stop (Flushing Main Street), or take the Q66 or Q19 to Flushing Main Street. During holidays and weekends public transport can get off kilter, so make sure you check in with MTA to adjust accordingly.

Last year, I headed over to Flushing to observe and enjoy the Lunar New Year celebrations. Since that time I have returned to experience the sights, sounds, and food of this cultural neighborhood.  My Lunar New Year itinerary begins with the Parade, followed by a Dumpling Tour of my own creation, and ending the day with a very special Tea Tasting.

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Field Trip_Lunar New Year_Parade Dragon
Lunar New Year Parade
Don’t expect Macy’s Thanksgiving parade production value, this parade has that volunteer grassroots feel with handmade floats, panicked volunteers trying to keep the show moving, and a great sense of community.  Kids walk with their families, organizations unite to carry banners, and duos, trios and full teams work together to operate dragons. The Dragons are the darlings of this parade, and come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. As they weave their way through the parade, you can’t help but get excited when they come close enough for a picture. The parade route starts at Union St and 37th Ave and usually ends at Main St and 39th. Main street is a great place (albeit busy place) to park it. The parade kicks off at 10:00 am and will generally wrap around 1:00 pm. Enjoy the parade festivities on Saturday, February 8, 2014.
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Create your Own Dumpling Tour
I love heading out to Flushing to dive into a full array of delightful food spots.  Dumplings are just large enough to fill you up, before you walk to the next place to have…more dumplings! In full transparency, my Flushing Food bible, is none other than Food Lovers Guide to Queens. Check out three of my favorite spots. There is no wrong way to create a Dumpling Tour, experiment and have fun.
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Field Trip_Lunar New Year_Soup Dumplings
Soup Dumplings from Nan-Xiang Dumplings House : I first heard about Soup Dumplings on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”, Anthony traveled half way around the world to try his hand at these hot little treats, lucky for me they are just a train ride away. Soup Dumplings, as their name implies, contain a rich soup broth with a small piece of meat, all tucked inside steamed dough.When these forces combine the result is pure deliciousness. There is a true art to eating a soup dumpling, one that I have not perfected. Be warned that these little guys are super hot, do not dive in without doing some tutorials before hand. Luckily YouTube is full of videos to help you study up. Important to note that on the menu the soup dumplings are referred to as steamed pork buns. (Nan-Xiang Dumplings House, 38-12 Prince Street, Flushing)
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Field Trip_Lunar New Year_Soup Dumplings
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White Bear: These dumplings are my true love. Every time I come out to Flushing this is my first stop. This place is super tiny, a couple of tables, small kitchen, and run by a (I assume) husband and wife team. She takes orders and he stands at the stove. Just say Wonton #6, (on the menu they are referred to as wontons in chili oil-sounds hot/spicy, but they’re not), have a seat and be prepared for a plate of super white dumplings smothered in bright red chili oil and topped with a green/white relish. I have no idea what this relish is made of, but I love it. If it came in a jar I would buy it by the case load. Best part of White Bear Wonton #6? You get 12 dumplings for $4.50. (White Bear, 135-02 Roosevelt Ave. #5, Flushing)
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Field Trip_Lunar New Year_Emily with Noodles
New World Mall-Food Court: By this point you might be ready for a break from dumplings. At the New World Mall Food Court you can chose to keep the dumpling smorgasbord going or branch out. If you have been to any mall food court the concept here is the same; except that every offering is a different take of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and other ethnic food specialties. Unlike fast food at the mall this food is delicious! As you descend on the escalator your mind will start racing, the lights, the people, the choices. Take a deep breath and take a lap or two. If you want to keep trying dumplings the choices here are endless from steamed dessert buns, to shrimp wontons, even lamb dumplings are available. Find a bun/wonton/dumpling and go for it. However if you are ready to mix it up with other food options this is great place to experiment. During my last visit I sampled the handmade noodles at Lanzhou Handmade Noodle. The noodles came in a pho-like broth with brisket meat. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in this food court so go with your gut, if it looks good try it. (New World Mall 136-20 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing)
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Tea Tasting
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Field Trip_Lunar New Year_Tea Tasting
Last year my friends and I stumbled upon this experience, it remains a highlight of our Lunar New Year activities from last year. Fang Gourmet Tea is part emporium, part museum, and offers a a wide variety of tea flavors. If you have thirty minutes to spare, you can try five different infusions of a tea of your choosing.  Each infusion represents a washing of leaves in hot water. It’s really neat to see the leaves open and blossom with each infusion, and taste the different levels of flavor. Who knew that tea could have such a wide range of taste! Cost varies per tea selected, generally speaking most tea tastings will run $5 per person, however if you join their club all future tea tastings are only $3 per person. The staff members are engaging and knowledgeable. Please note that Fang Gourmet Tea is tucked away inside a small mall, you will need to pass several cell phone and beauty product vendors to reach this tea oasis.  (Fang Gourmet Tea 135-25 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing)
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Get creative and experience Flushing in your own way. Tell us where you would like We Heart Astoria to Field Trip next.
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Happy Lunar New Year!

About Emily Rios

Emily Rios manages special events, sponsored content and advertising clients as WHA's Business Development Director. She is a passionate and dedicated youth developer with a strong background in non-profit management, and works as Senior Manager of Youth Leadership at generationOn.

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